Course Design - An Integrative Approach

What is it?

Course design is the process of systematically creating a course to meet instructional goals. Before opening the LMS, you need to ask yourself what things you want students to feel, do, and know at the end of the course.

How Can I do it?

The following steps are part of the Integrated Course Design guide created by Dee Fink (2005). The purpose is to create a course where the activities, assessments, and goals align throughout. You will notice that “writing a syllabus” does not appear until the final phase. This model can be used for developing online, in-person, or blended courses. The principle of alignment is the same in each.

Phase 1:

This phase involves looking at all the factors that contribute to the course content. How does this course fit into the larger program goals or institutional goals? What skills, knowledge, or abilities should students gain from this course? What do you want them to still know after two years?


Build Strong Primary Components
Situational factors
Learning goals
Feedback and assessment procedures
Teaching/learning activities
Integration of primary components

Phase 2:

During this phase of the design, all the components developed in Phase 1 are now arranged in the course.


Assemble the Components into a Coherent Whole
Create structure
Select instructional strategy
Integrate course structure and instructional strategy into learning activities

Phase 3:

In the final phase of the design process you will create a grading system, design the syllabus, and fix any potential problems with your design. You will also want to create a way to evaluate the course and your teaching so you can evaluate if the course was successful or not.

Finish Important Remaining Tasks
Grading system
De-Bug possible problems
Write syllabus
Plan evaluation of your course and your teaching